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Safer Credit

On a trip to Europe, Ed Kelley found that his calling card had stopped working; thieves had stolen the number and run up huge charges. Frustrated with the lack of security on calling cards and credit cards, Kelley, a group leader for IBM Global Services, sat down with IBM engineer Franco Motika to create a solution. The pair designed a card with a novel feature: a tiny keypad. When the owner first receives the card, he or she must choose and input a PIN that is “burned” into the card’s circuitry-making it much more secure than a PIN stored in computer memory. To use the card, the holder enters the PIN on the card itself; this causes a “smart card” chip to generate a unique transaction number good for only one time. This number would be sent to the credit card company, where a computer would compare it to the output of an algorithm specific to that card. Only if the two matched would the transaction be approved. “With this card, somebody could have your credit card number, and it would do them absolutely no good whatsoever,” Kelley says.

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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